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Childrenís Day: 8th January 2005

Wilhelm giving out some of the smaller gifts he had brought along to the party. Dancing girls of all shapes and sizes.

 While drinking my second bucket of coffee this morning I was attending to my email in which I had received many more messages from people expressing relief that both myself and the children from the orphanage had not come to any harm in the Asian Tsunami. Short replies taken care of, we were away on the road to Chonburi and the flying club who were holding the childrenís day event. By this time it was around 9:30am and the day was beginning to warm up. Bright sunshine after the cool of the night - down to the low twenties Celcius - but as itís been now for some time very hazy with a high degree of humidity. As the day wore on there were the usual field fires developed with plumes of smoke as you look from just about any direction. Many of them start naturally with the grass at this time of year being tall and tinder dry, with the colour of pale straw instead of the emerald green that you see in the wet season. After the fire there is a dark stain on the land but you know that will produce an even brighter green as soon as the rains come in May or June.

Pretty nurses selling poppies from a tray, well that's how the song went anyway. The jet jockeys doing their stuff.

 When we arrived we found that the event, although still early, was well underway with the smaller children doing their acts while the older dancing girls dressed in their traditional Thai costumes, were under the tents sheltering from the sun. I met Wilhelm, one of my German friends, who had two great big parcels of presents for me to give to the children from the orphanage. OK the whole idea was a collection for Christmas but did I say which year. Not to worry; they have birthdays all through the year and will be a nice surprise at that time. There were children everywhere eating, eating all sorts of traditional Thai food. Noiís older sister and her daughter were with us having stayed on for a few days after coming back from Kanchanalek, the family home in the far south east of Thailand. Noi had gone home with her sister for a few days earlier in the week to change young Blackís family name, that is into that of her father instead of her former husbandís. Unfortunately she did not succeed. Apparently it will require her brother to be there before anything can happen. Citizen registration and other such things take on the look of biblical times in this part of the world. Having to travel back to your place of registration to make any alteration to your family paper. This paper has all the details of the siblings of the family and heaven knows what else as itís in Thai and totally beyond me.

Small dancing girls doing their stuff. Mr Black and Ann Noi's sister's little girl
Big dancing girls sheltering from the sun before doing their thing Chow line, one of many.

 One day they will get into the nineteenth century but it will probably not be in my life-time. No I havenít made a mistake here. I DO mean the nineteenth century and not the twentieth century or the twenty first as the rest of the world is. If they just got to the nineteenth century it would be leaps and bounds further forward than they are now. Yes I know I am complaining about this and I know that I complain bitterly about civil servants back in the UK and I have no doubt I would complain about civil servants in many other parts of the world where there is a very obvious waste of manpower but that's just me. The very words civil servant is a contradiction in terms. Mostly they are neither civil nor are they your servant but they are put there by the powers-that-be just to make you pay your dues and taxes and be as much trouble as they can to you and me in our lives. Donít you just love them? Anyway back to the very pleasant day. The whole family were very soon tucked into the food apart from me. Sorry, Thai food just doesnít do it for me and I have to be very hungry before I get stuck in.

One of the aircraft dropping the small paper birds some with names on them. Last minute tune up before the off
Kid eating everywhere

The jet jockeys where doing their stuff as usual and there were drops of the small folded birds with some names of people on them. If a child found one with a name on it and they could find that person they would be given one hundred baht, about $2.50USD. My name was on five of them. As you can imagine this meant that they were all picked up from the airfield. The folded bird idea was from the drops of the same thing over the south of that country after the Thai military managed to kill eighty or ninety Thai Muslims after some trouble had broken out back in the latter part of last year. After these people had been arrested and bound arms and legs they were thrown into the back of trucks to be taken to some detention point but they were thrown in one on top of the other and it came as a surprise to them that the ones on the bottom died on the way. To the best of my knowledge no one has really been brought to book over it as is often the case in this part of the world. I know that at the time we expected some sort of reprisal but thank heaven that has not come to be either.

One of the lucky young men finding one of the paper birds with my name on it.

OK she was just to cute to leave out.

 This whole party was put on by the management of the flying club and paid for by CMT which is a manufacturer of farm equipment.  There where also awards of scholarship at 1,000 Baht each (about $25.00USD) to be given to the children. Ten thousand children were expected and I was not counting but there were a lot.  Thaiís, being 95% Buddhist, donít really celebrate Christmas other than in the shops as here and in the west they will celebrate anything that turns a penny so I guess this is there prerogative. Anyway they all looked as if they were having a jolly good time and that was the whole point.


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